Monday, 25 September 2017

Early rise after just two hours of sleep to go to Amandine's place for the pre-editing session of my short film 'Yet Untitled'. 

Very exciting to see the film slowly take shape. 

But I hope tonight won't be a sleepless night again...

Uống cà phê sữa đá trua này mắt mở cả đêm...

And this heat....

Filming 'Yet Untitled'

Yet Untitled... It isn't too soon that four days before the deadline of the short-film submission, I finally have the full cast! 

A little boy, a young woman, a man, a dancer.

The dancer's scenes were the first to be shot, in Saigon, in that old French building near the river, apparently the French soldiers' sleeping quarters. Wonderful Sùng A Lùng's dancing... 

The scenes with the young woman were shot yesterday, with Hsu Paulina. I found her through a friend's friend. A quiet and very talented photographer in her own right.
The young man is a young waiter who works at ight in the 101 Tower area. He has a tough look but a deep expression. I was having a drink after the shooting with Amandine and Paulina and saw him. Amandine approached him for me and asked whether he would be interested to feature in a short film. I was so glad when he accepted! I no longer knew what to do!
Today I finally found the little boy: Lex, the young son of Lisa's. I had an older boy in mind, the son of a friend of Aurélien's who appeared in a short film and had this rare mix of intensity and innoncence. But his school schedule and his difficult mother made it impossible to find a day for the shooting.
I recently had dinner with Lisa wo warned me that I would have to cope with her three monsters offsprings. I actually found them very fun and lively. "Because it;s your first time", Lisa said. "It's a different story on a daily basis!". Of course, a mother knows best. Lex was sitting next to me during dinner and commenting on his sibbling's antics. He later told his mother that he was very happy to know me. I had not thought of Lex until now. But it totally made sense. And we had a good connection. It's a wild bet, but I feel Lex willbe perfect playing the artist as a child...

70% of the film is already shot, fortunately. 

Pre-editing tomorrow. The two tracks by Sakamoto are also selected. How many times have I listened to his album async...

Things one thinks about when reaching a certain stage in life...
As a child, all I could do was to dream and grow my inner world in order to survive a real world I had to abide every day.

I had always known that artistic creation was my calling. But everything was blurry in my head. The connection between the two world was invisible and intangible. Only when I was on stage playing music or at home making those little theatre plays with my brother and my cousins, did I truly feel alive and aligned with myself. The rest of the time, I was in limbo.

Now, as I'm shooting the remaining scenes for this first short film as a director, I can't help but rejoicing at the notion that it is no longer an distant, unreachable dream. If there is one thing I have always protected and cherished, it is that belief, however unreasonable to so many people, that those dreams were to eventually materialise. The big part of it is hard work and perseverance, and the part is pure magic - or alignment of the stars, whatever else that one cannot command.

That's what I am tring to express in Yet Untitled

The final title could be [Life] Yet Untitled.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

So I'm still trying to finish Yet Untitled for the deadline of September 30th. If I don't manage, it is fine all the same. Le principal est de participer!

A sequence of images for an idea of the mood and the feel of the film - or what it will / can be. I tried to play some Sakamoto tracks on the footage and it works beautifully...

More shooting in the coming days. Gắng sức, gắng sức!!! Go go go!

Saturday, 23 September 2017

I think... I have finished the music for the end credits of The Third Wife. It may be a little long. Six minutes twenty seconds... I had to let it out the way it came to me...  Then it will always be possible to edit it. But I think I have it....

I think...

... and the keenest ear will perhaps catch a cello line in the by me in the midst of sounds and layers. He he!

Friday, 22 September 2017

I cycled to the gallery in Tienmu that held my dear friend Chien Wei's new exhibition. A dancer, choreographer and photographer à ses heures.  
Tonight was the closing night so I had to make time for it And... Time was the title of the exhibition! Beautiful photos and joyful time with everyone present. 

Thursday, 21 September 2017

The end titles music for The Third Wife is now finished. The piece begins with Lisa singing - we briefly met this morning for a lightning speed recording, then followed by cello by Ho Lin leading up to a crescendo with timpani and strings, and sakuhachi by Hong Lee Chuang - our single session for Silk x 21 last year has certainly served many other projects! Suspension, before the strings resume. The piece ends with the piano reprising the theme of the 'funeral montage' as Ash calls it - I call it Mountains... 
I envivioned the music as one final journey that calls back themes and motives heard during the film. A much needed time for the audience to let everything sink in before leaving the theatre.

I will let the music sit for a night fine-tuning it tomorrow and showing it to Ash tomorrow.


Wednesday, 20 September 2017

NINA - toujours!

Jo just informed me that our first collaboration NINA materialise sacrifice will have its Asian tour this autumn: South Korea, Hong Kong, China and Japan! 
This really took me by surprise. It's a refreshing and heartwarming thought to see that a piece which was created twelve years ago is still having a life now!
I hope I will be able to catch it somewhere, whether in South Korea or China...

Thursday, 14 September 2017

The joy and elation I felt when I was in Saigon have alas quickly waned. 

Although I am glad to be back in my flat, the down mood have seized me again. Slowly but surely. No motivation to do anything. Solitary seclusion. The only 'positive' thing I did was to revisit my work of the past 18 years or so and organise my new Bancamp page. Organising, renaming, filing things has always had a therapeutic and soothing effect on me ever since I was a young boy. 

I don't know whether this down mood is connected to Taipei, whether it is my chronic depression - according to Jason K., or whether it is just because I have barely eaten for the past week or so - not out of whim or fancy, simply because I am still waiting for some big payment to reach my bank account, but the money seems to be lost somewhere in limbo between the two banks, so for now it's plain rice, air and water... 

Maybe... I should eat some of the Marou chocolate bars I brought back from Saigon that I have been saving for a potential tea time with friends. I like to save those delicacies for my time with them. But friends are busy being busy. But don't they say chocolate is a good antidepressant?

Let noone tell me to 'cheer up'!!!

Anyway, my Bandcamp is more or less ready. I have been spending days collecting songs that I have written and recorded since... 1998! Between all the demos, the first, second, third or -nth version of each of the songs, revised, alternative versions, newly mixed versions... I'm quite organised a person, but mayhem it still was.

Listening to those songs (some I had not heard for more than a decade!) was like fling back and forth in time, looking at old pictures in the attic - well, that's a received idea of how one looks back, as we never had any attic in the house. 

So far my three albums, Circlesong, Hyperbody and We were (t)Here are ready for my Bandcamp page. Add to that all the music I have written for the stage, mostly for Jo Kanamori (NINA - materialize sacrifice, PLAY 2 PLAY, Les Contes d'Hoffmann, Dream of the Swan) and Huang Yi, as well as some other short pieces done for various projects. If one blames me for something, it won't be of idleness!

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

The big question now is whether I should keep on with this short film. The people involved are whether busy or away, away or busy, and the deadline is in a little more than two weeks. This is pure madness - or delusion. How could I do all of it by myself...?

But this project means so much to me that I will continue with it and forget the Sakamoto competition. 

The present situation does reflect what the film is about: we never know, and we should let things unfold by themselves. I will keep on shooting the film, since I have already shot a lot in Vietnam and before. It is just that I may not be able to finish it in time for the competition. I perhaps will ask them if I can still use Sakamoto's music, even if the film is completed after the deadline, since I really got inspired by his music.

Steve advised me to "prioritise what's important, add value to your resume and the compensation. Sometimes taking more than you can chew isn't worth it."
But Steve isn't an artist - he does photography for a hobby, but as creative as he is - his photos are very beautiful, he doesn't live off it and has a stable job.

Such comments actually motivate me to follow my path. The question here isn't of priority or to take "more than I can chew". I have never done any project to list it on a resume, even though in this case, I decided to do it for the short film competition. Often in my work, I have to face the question of whether I should do it, whether I am skilled enough to do it. When Nicolas Liautard asked me to write the music for a play, when until then I had only written songs, when Régine Chopinot called that morning for a dance project with her and Jean-Paul Gaultier, when Jo Kanamori asked me to compose full scale dance piece, when the Berlin Symphony commissioned me a piece for orchestra when I had never written anything for more than 5 instruments... If I had listened to the voice of reason, I wouldn't have done on tenth of what I have done until now.
As Gavin said to me later in the day: "The voice of reason only keeps us safe and unexciting most of the time anyway, but the inner voice brings you to a miraculous place that your mind can't even dream of!!!"

Merci Gavin. And merci Steve too. 

Saturday, 9 September 2017

L'appel du vide

I'm very impatient to release this second music video I have done this year! I had not shown it to anyone except a few friends on my birthday, because Norm Yip asked to feature it on the website of his new mag, Moxie to go along an interview we did together. But the project kept dragging on...

L'appel du vide was originally intended to be done in black & white, however I had been convinced by Aurélien Jégou to keep it in colour after he saw the chiarascura tones of the footage, and said that it really deserved to be seen in colour. L'appel du vide became an experimental music video after I went through what I had shot last year as part of my Memory of dance (in the city) project. About absence, solitude and inner/outer movements... I shot additional scenes with Trevor and filmed myself with Aurélien's camera.
Now I am very glad I followed Aurélien's advice!

The song was an isolated one-shot thing I wrote last year on lyrics by Bibbe. Creature of the night...

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Saigon. In the deep silence of the night, as I would gradually fall into slumber, the tick tock of the clock in the room sounded to me like a rabbit munching on a carrot ve  -  ry....    slow   -   ly...